A voracious reader, Shane always liked crime. He was first published aged 11, getting a story in a collection by children for children, but he was so badly teased for writing it, that he didn’t try again for many years.
At 16, Shane was in a band and his mother encouraged him to play his guitar for her class of children with special needs.
“They were so open, and I decided I wanted to work with kids.”
He worked in child protection for a few years, meanwhile accumulating more qualifications, and he was encouraged to write a book based on his experiences. Wednesday’s Child spawned another eight books based on real cases.
Then, teaching full time, Shane also wrote for newspapers, penning up to three articles a week.
“It became all consuming, and in the last few years I have stepped back.”
The last two books included a mystery element, and Shane and his editor agreed it was time for him to try fiction.
“I had a great time writing it. I loved being in that world.”
Who is S.A. Dunphy.
Date of birth: 1973 in Brighton, England. The family moved to Wexford when he was 2.
Education: St Peter’s Wexford. Waterford IT. Diploma in Childcare, Degree, Master, and PhD.
Family: Wife Deirdre. Children, Richard 31; Marnie 18. Grandson Rhys,4. Dogs Lulu and George.
The Day Job: Teaching childcare at the Waterford College of Education. Some consultancy work.
In Another Life: “I’d have been a musician.”
Favourite Writers: Robert B Parker; John Connolly; Anthony Bourdain; Arthur Conan Doyle.
Second Novel: “I’ve started, While She was Gone. It’s a sequel, kicking off hours after this one happens.”
Top Tip: “Just write. It doesn’t matter if the first 100 pages are complete rubbish. And you must read.”
The Debut: After She Vanished. Hachette Books Ireland: €11.99. Kindle: €1.11.
David Dunnigan is a mess. He’s a criminology lecturer and a consultant for a specialist investigations unit in Dublin, but he’s hanging onto both jobs by a thread. 18 years earlier, shopping with his four-year-old niece, Beth let go of his hand and disappeared. He can’t forgive himself.
The Verdict: A crime book with beautifully drawn characters. Dunnigan is flawed, but fascinating.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 22nd July
© Sue Leonard. 2017